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Bible verses about Secret Things Belong to God
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 6:18

This verse is notable partly because it contains the first use of the term “covenant” in Scripture, falling under the unwritten “Law of First Mention.” In the remainder of the Bible, it appears 252 more times. It is a significant term because of what “covenant” means to our relationship with God.

Theologians attach many definitions to it, such as the simple “a promise.” Charles Hodge defines it as “a promise suspended upon a condition, and [to which God] attached to disobedience a certain penalty.” Another termed it as “a bond sovereignly administered.” Modern legal terminology is adequate: “A covenant is a legal document establishing the terms of a relationship between parties involved together in the accomplishment of a purpose.”

Despite Genesis 6:18 being the first time “covenant” is used, it is not the first time the sense of a covenant appears in the Bible—and definitely not the last. It is but one of many to come as God's purpose unfolds. What does a covenant accomplish that assists both God's purpose and mankind's understanding of the life the Creator has given him? Humans need a clear understanding of this question if they are to have a good relationship with God. Deuteronomy 29:29 gives the answer: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

Covenants, sometimes specifically and sometimes broadly, spell out each party's responsibilities within a relationship the parties have formed to accomplish a purpose. Biblically, a covenant may not be formally proposed and executed by God with man, as the sense of a covenant within a given context may be apparent to a thoughtful reader. Thus, what researchers call the Edenic Covenant is indeed a covenant even though it is not formally proposed, as the terms of the relationship between the Creator and those He created in Genesis 1 are easily discerned. Adam and Eve were to obey the Creator's rules as He personally revealed them and to do so without sin.

In like manner, some researchers perceive a second covenant, which they call the Adamic Covenant. Again, it is not formally proposed by God to Adam and Eve because their sins and the judgments God imposed so obviously altered life and the relationship between God and humanity. A formal declaration of a new covenant was not necessary. It appears after our first parents' sins and God's judgments, since those factors so seriously and obviously altered the relationships among all concerned.

Mark this truth well: The sins and their judgments altered not only the lives of Adam and Eve but also all who came after. Thus, their effects touch us too because those sins and God's judgments dramatically changed the world we live in (see Romans 8 for an expansion on this thought). Each covenant reveals God's purpose more explicitly to meet the demands of His purposes, but overall, as the “Big Picture” unfolds through the course of the Bible, it also reveals that His central purpose has never changed from the beginning. God declares in Malachi 3:6, “I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”

The “Big Picture” reveals that God's purpose from the beginning has been to make man in His image and likeness. God did not cause us to sin; we have deliberately chosen to sin. We must live by faith and keep His commandments. We are saved by grace through faith, which is a gift of God. We must repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the earth, as our personal Savior. We must grow to love God with all our soul, mind, and might, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

The motivation for our submission to God has always been the wonderful mixture of trust in His Word—faith—combined with a deep, personal love for Him for what He is in His character. New elements are introduced with each covenant, as God's purpose is progressively developed to expand mankind's understanding. Each distinguishing mark of His purpose unfolds as humanity needs to understand its place in what is happening within God's creative process.

The Noahic Covenant, like the Edenic Covenant, is also a universal covenant. Though it is made with Noah, its purpose is to redefine the relationship between God and all mankind in the world that arises after the Flood. Only eight people remained. At least partly, this covenant was given so that Noah and ultimately all humanity could come to know that the Flood did not abolish the covenant following Adam's and Eve's sins and the application of God's judgments. Though the Flood was devastating, mankind is still bound to obey what was previously ordained. The Noahic covenant announces that the Flood did not change God's purpose. It did not wipe away man's original responsibilities, just the lawbreakers.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Nine)


 

Ecclesiastes 3:9-11

A beautiful flower blooms, but it is only beautiful for a little while, not always. Even though things are beautiful—and in an overall sense, he means life is beautiful—it is perplexing because we cannot figure out what God is doing. We have a deep desire to understand the beginning from the end. Everyone likes to know how things are going to work out! Everybody would like to know a little bit about what lies ahead in the future for him. But we cannot know, so life perplexes us.

Maybe we want insight into or a sense of something that transcends our immediate situation. But we are left without really knowing all we would wish to know about the future as it relates to the present and what we are experiencing. This has a beautiful purpose in it; God designed it so. He has not told us everything. Why?

It forces His children to live by faith: "The just shall live by faith." Those who trust God will be cognizant of the fact that they cannot control everything and that they must rely, not in their wisdom, abilities, intelligence, power, or money, but in Somebody who is really in control of these things.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and the Feast of Tabernacles (Part 2)


 

Ecclesiastes 7:26-29

Solomon's conclusions are certainly not inspiring. He finds the world to be full of alluring but discouraging wickedness. Only one man in a thousand, he deems, actually lives what he considered to be a righteous life.

His findings on women reflect experiences of extreme disappointment. Blaming no woman in particular, he seems to cast all women with whom he had had personal experience as no more than snares to entrap him into some form of slavery. He must have felt that, because he was not pleasing to God, God did not make a way for him to escape women of that nature. His experiences led him to assert that he could not find even one woman in a thousand who lived a righteous life!

He probably did not feel that way about all women, because in other places, such as in the Song of Songs and Proverbs 31, he speaks highly of them, and in Proverbs 4, 7, 8, and 9, he uses a woman to represent wisdom. It cannot be said, then, that he looked on woman as an evil creation, yet his personal experiences definitely color his comments here.

We can perhaps clarify this conclusion by restating it: He found that righteousness is rare indeed regardless of gender. Few people are living before God as they should.

Following these declarations, verse 29 provides an intriguing concluding statement about this search, and it triggers questions.

He calls what he is looking for “wisdom,” and it truly is wisdom because, within the context of his search, the answers would provide a clearer basis for making good choices in life. But considering what we have covered—beginning even with his statement in chapter 1:2, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”—what he seems to be looking for are answers to why God has created all this and why life is so difficult and puzzling. He seems to be expressing the thought that, if he knew the answers to these questions, it would help his search a great deal.

It cannot be known how much Solomon searched the Bible for an overall answer, but the writings of Moses were available to him. Certainly, his father David knew a great deal, and being the godly man he was, it is impossible to imagine that he did not instruct his son from what Moses was inspired to write.

Deuteronomy 29:29, available to Solomon, is recorded for our understanding: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” The Bible indeed reveals a great deal, but apparently, Solomon did not understand that God chooses to reveal some matters personally and individually in the same way He has called us. God has clearly revealed much more to the elect, but the eyes of the uncalled are still blinded (Romans 11:7-8). Solomon understood a great deal but not every aspect of it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Fourteen): A Summary


 

Daniel 12:4

The phrase "to and fro" is not to be limited to people literally going from one place to another. While it does also mean that, the words in Hebrew indicate something that is happening entirely within a person's mind. The minds of people are casting back and forth as though they are in midst of a puzzle, a mystery, an enigma that they cannot figure out. Or, they are all stressed, and their minds are flashing back and forth because of all that is burdening them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sanctification and the Teens


 

Daniel 12:4

The phrase "knowledge will be increased" is a direct reference to the prophecy itself; that is, knowledge of the prophecy will be increased. Many would seek to understand it between Daniel's time and its fulfillment, but its message must be revealed. However, its revelation will not occur until the people of God need to understand it for their well-being and God's glory. What are the chances it will be revealed in its fullness to any of us? My guess is: extremely small!

Not only must its message be revealed, but it will also not be revealed until the time comes that God is good and ready. God adds in verse 10 that only "the wise shall understand." The "wise" are described elsewhere as those who keep the commandments of God (Hosea 14:9).

Moses writes in Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." God, for His purposes, chooses to keep certain things to Himself. On the other hand, He reveals a great deal about Himself in nature, revelation that is available to anyone.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Three): Who Is the Woman?


 

Amos 3:7

Combinging this scripture together with Deuteronomy 29:29—and with an example Daniel 12 when God tells the prophet that the meaning was sealed until the time of the end—we can see that He is clearly telling us He promises to reveal the understanding of prophecy on a "need-to-know" basis. When we need to know, He will tell us. That is His promise. So until that time arrives, precise understanding will be impossible. Therefore, anyone's interpretation of prophecy has to be understood as theory until the evidence arises that it is a true interpretation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

Amos 3:7

He is not out to trick us or to trip us up. Our beloved friend and elder brother Jesus Christ echoes this to His disciples: "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).

We can have confidence in God's promise that He will not do anything significant concerning His people without informing us first in a clear, orderly, and understandable manner. If and when He chooses to send a special end-time leader to His people—whether he be a prophet, an apostle, or one of the two witnesses (Revelation 11)—God will make sure we are able to recognize the man as His true servant.

Staff
The Prophet


 

Matthew 24:35-36

This suggests that we might be able to know of the year and month, yet it also gives the impression that God has already set the day and hour. It is this precise deadline—toward which He is constantly working—that we will never discover. We can relate to deadlines because we must frequently work against one. In this case, God has set this mark for Himself.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Four


 

Romans 11:33-34

To know the fullness of God's thoughts on any subject or any event is, of course, so far beyond us to be unimaginable. To this end, we truly do look through a glass darkly. However, He has revealed certain things about Himself, His way, and His plan sufficiently enough that we may seek Him, come to conversion, and grow thereby. He has also revealed much to us about His attributes, His aims, and His activities as Creator, Sovereign Ruler, Provider, Lawgiver, Judge, Savior, and Father so that we are not completely without some knowledge and understanding of how He functions within His creation.

Deuteronomy 29:29 confirms God's revelation by saying, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." I Corinthians 2:10 provides a New Testament confirmation of this: "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God." We can understand a great deal about God.

The "catch" in all this, though, is whether we choose to believe Him and thus choose to conduct ourselves within the parameters of what He reveals in His Word. Far more, it seems, choose not to believe. Some say they believe, but carelessly continue living their lives as though they, and not He, are all that matters - until some crisis occurs and He suddenly becomes very important to them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is God to Blame?


 

 




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